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Broadband Line Growth Defies Economic Downturn

The world's economy may be on the ropes, but broadband and IPTV connections continue their impressive growth, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Broadband Forum.

The group said more than 3 million broadband lines were added in the last quarter in North America, while globally more than 16.5 million lines were added. On the international scene, the global broadband lines now top 429 million connections.

IPTV, although moving from a much smaller base of users, grew 15.78% in the quarter and 94.22% over the year in North America for a total of 4.4 million connections. Western Europe, which has a mature IPTV market, grew 9.7% in the quarter and 45.8% year over year.

"This report shows that despite the economic situation the world is facing, the demand for both broadband and IPTV continues at pace as people everywhere look to improve the quality and speed of their communications," George Dobrowski, chairman and president of the Broadband Forum, said in a statement.

The Broadband Forum's statistics indicate that China is continuing to pull ahead of the United States in the number of installed broadband lines. China's total line count in the quarter jumped from 71 million to 88 million while in the United States, the line count climbed from 72.5 million to 84 million.

According to the survey figures, DSL remains the most popular broadband access technology followed by fiber. Wireless broadband also logged a "healthy proportionate increase" of more than a million lines, reaching a total of 5.58 million lines, according to the Broadband Forum survey.

Separately, Infonetics Research reported that the broadband cable market also defied the worldwide economic downward trend and posted healthy market figures, holding essentially even at about $1.23 billion in the first quarter.

"Compared to the overall bloodbath in telecom equipment spending first quarter 2009, the cable broadband was somewhat of a bright spot and proves that cable operators remain committed to expanding their DOCSIS 3.0 footprint," said Jeff Heynen, a directing analyst at Infonetics.

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